Spike: On one hand I consistently loved ‘The Wedding of River Song’, everything from its loopy time condensed opening, to the Buck Rogers style vignette as the Doctor scoured the galaxy for information on the Silence, to the bulk of the action in Egypt worked for me. In fact I kind of loved everything that happened in the Anachro-Verse, even if it reminded me a little of ‘Inferno’.
Taken on its own terms the episodes’ breathless enthusiasm and wealth of ideas would have placed it as my favourite episode of the season. However knowing the machinations and movements that are going on vis-à-vis the shows seventh season it is hard to not be a little disappointed by the episode. At the moment the seventh season isn’t due to air until late 2012 and even then the season is going to be split across both 2012 and 2013. As such whilst I applaud Moffat’s overarching narrative I have to wonder if he may have bitten off more than he could chew by leaving the viewers on such an obvious cliff-hanger for what could be well over a year. As it stands now Moffat’s run of Doctor Who is going to be one large storyline told over three seasons worth of episodes. Whilst I admire the commitment to an overarching narrative it feels a little vexing to have so little closure on the majority of the subplots. I actually think the mid-season finale ‘A Good Man Goes To War’ actually would have worked better as an overall season closer rather than this. Then again I’ve found that this season hasn’t felt as consistently plotted as last year, even if I’ve found the individual episodes to be a lot stronger.
It just feels that certain plotlines weren’t particularly well developed or were resolved in ways that felt either tone deaf or unnatural. Amy murdering Madame Kovarian is an example of the somewhat muddled plotting as it serves as a natural endpoint to the Melody Pond plot, but because Amy and Rory have both been so passive about Melody these past few episodes it just felt massively out of the blue. One of the problems I’m increasingly having with Moffat’s episodes is that he never seems to give stuff the time to breathe and as such plots and dialogue just whizz along but aren’t given the time to properly nestle down in the subconscious. It is a trait he seems to have developed in the interim between season five and six and whilst I’m consistently in awe of his intellectual skills and his mastery of Doctor Who as a storytelling medium I often feel that his big emotional moments are numbed.
Ben: I think my feelings towards this episode are similar to the way I feel about Moffat’s work this year as a whole: I admire rather than like it. There are lots of individual ideas and moments that work for me, and I enjoy the complexity of the plotting, but it all feels a bit too rushed, too manic and at times too smug. River Song, despite Kingston being an excellent actress, still irritates me- she’s fine bouncing off most people, but the way she acts towards The Doctor feels a little bit too much like an echo of Davies’ worst excesses – “that wonderful amazing man”, and all.
That said, I did really like 90% of this episode: the “live” chess, the amazing collapsed timeline world, Rory and Amy, the tribute to the Brigadier; but on the wedding, and the lakeside, and the big emotional moments it felt too over-the-top, too manipulative. It’s certainly not something that’s new to the show, and I’ll still take Moffat’s intricate, careful storytelling over any number of deus ex machina, but after the muted, effective notes last year’s finale hit I was a little disappointed.
Also, not only do we still have no idea who blew up the TARDIS, it wasn’t even referenced. I’ve got nothing against long-form storytelling, but this one seems to be taking its time giving us any of the big answers.
Smith, however, is still incredible, selling over-the-top bombast and quiet resignation with equal conviction.
Ian: I wanted nothing more than to love this episode and feel like it made up for all the misgivings I’ve had with the series so far, but I didn’t. Like you said, Spike, there were plenty of things to enjoy. The alternate time-frame was awash with fantastic little details and design touches (even if it did further reinforce the way some episodes look much better than others) and Moffat, as usual, had a blast with all of his snappy little dialogue exchanges and winks to the fans. However, none of that made up for the fact that, once again, I was left feeling like a passenger rather than a participant in one of Moffat’s episodes.
My main complaint with the episode is the same one I’ve levelled throughout the season. One of my favourite sayings is “the more haste, the less speed” and I feel like that’s never been truer than of this extended story arc. My highlights have been those off the well-worn mystery track (‘The Doctor’s Wife’ was an early peak) that dealt instead with character as opposed to warp-speed event TV. THINGS HAPPEN! URGENT MUSIC! ETC! I laughed out loud when the Silent basically said “yep, time for you to buy it yet again, Rory” and I think that sort of sums up the problem in a sense. For all the ballyhoo around this finale, the stakes felt surprisingly modest. Last season might not have wrapped up around the fireplace of a country lodge, but it was a far stronger series overall – both from the standpoint of plot and emotional investment for the audience. It built momentum that the ending parlayed into a triumphant finish. I feel like this season has been trying to get off the ground all along in a lot of ways, save for the odd episode or two.
A lot is (rightly) made when a season, especially of a genre TV show, comes to an end about expectations. A level-headed voice or two usually reminds everyone that “he/she/they/it/the ship obviously isn’t going to go bye-bye.” It’s more about how or why they stop that happening. And that’s fine. It would be a big ask for a show to truly convince us “they’re done for” 5 or 10 minutes from the curtain, especially one for all the family. But not engaging me on any significant emotional level is a failure for any show, regardless of how many funny moments or nice shots there might have been. Seeing as this is the season capper and all, I’m going to indulge my weakness for awful “jokes”/puns/sayings one last time. This series has felt, overall, to me like Moffat’s difficult second album. It still has a few great singles on it and there are excellent ideas all over the place, but the magic that made its predecessor so special just never clicked the way it was meant to.
Kristina: The more that I think about this episode, the more I fall in line with Ian’s point of view. There are scenes that I flat-out loved, but for the most part, this felt like the sum of this season’s missed opportunities. Everything involving the reveal of River’s identity this season has been horribly rushed, in my opinion. I said back when we reviewed ‘Let’s Kill Hitler’ that I did not like how quickly River was swayed to The Doctor’s side. For starters, it made her look like a rubbish assassin. Furthermore, it made her eventual turn toward loving The Doctor far less of a dramatic payoff than it could have been. Taking a character from being raised to murder someone to falling so deeply in love with that person that they would destroy all of time and space for them in the span of a couple of episodes just does not work. The big scene atop the pyramid was meant to be a far more dramatic moment than it turned out to be. All of River’s “I can’t lose you!” speeches fell on deaf ears due to the fact that I cannot buy their relationship progressing to that point so quickly. When Amy was willing to pull a similar stunt for Rory in ‘The Girl Who Waited’, I didn’t doubt it for a moment because we’ve had so much time to see that relationship evolve and strengthen. Yes, River’s been popping up in episodes all over the place for some time now, but this is supposed to be near the beginning of her timeline, when her hatred and mistrust of The Doctor should theoretically be at a fever pitch. Seeing her slowly come to the point where she not only rejects her training but feels affection for her target would have been great to see play out for a little while, and God knows Kingston’s got the chops to pull it off. I’m disappointed that they rushed it.
I’m also disappointed that certain questions not only have not been answered, but flat-out ignored throughout this season. The TARDIS was hijacked and blown up, and no one seems to care anymore. If the answer to that question is tied in with the Silence, who I assume we will see more of next series, fine, but not even mentioning such a massive event is odd to me. I’m still confused about the three months that passed between ‘Day of the Moon’ and ‘Impossible Astronaut’. I’m bummed that I didn’t get another bit with Canton Everett Delaware III because I loved that character. I was hoping he’d return to help out with the Silence, but no dice. Speaking of the Silence, I am really torn on whether or not I like these guys as villains. It was admittedly creepy to see them in their Independence Day water tubes, staring at The Doctor as he passed, but once they attacked, I didn’t really care. I’ve lost interest in them, although it gives me a chuckle that those fingers look way too much like the best part of the male anatomy.
Spike: I think the Silents are kind of great conceptually but it feels like Moffat has never known what to do with them. The design of them, and their movements and style, are fantastic but it feels like they haven’t really been used effectively yet. They feel like less of an immediate threat than The Weeping Angels.
Adam: Well, I’m going to go against the grain and say this is my favourite season of NuWho so far, while acknowledging the issues that you guys all brought up as being valid. But the thing is, Doctor Who has been a show of pretty modest goals since it returned in 2005. Mostly it’s been about reintroducing the show and its various villains and concepts, “rebooting” them as it were for a new generation, with a lot of entertaining sci-fi whizbangery, and at that it’s been pretty wildly successful. It reminds me a lot of some of the comics Marvel and DC has been putting out lately, attempting to “strip down” the complex continuity and bizarre concepts of their existing characters in hopes of reaching a mainstream audience–stuff like Mark Millar’s The Ultimates, for instance. Or there’s the new J. J. Abrams version of Star Trek. In all these cases, an old, clunky, culty, beloved series is reinvigorated as a slick and enthusiastic light show…but a lot of the quirky and more thoughtful aspects are lost. And I feel this has been an issue with NuWho, though on the whole it’s more interesting than those other examples. But for much of the show’s run, even when Moffat took over, I tended to feel like the show was trying to dazzle us, to compete on the same level as Star Wars or the various superhero movies that we get these days, when that’s never really been what a show like Who’s about. Low-budget SF TV series have traditionally been the realm of imagination and thoughtfulness rather than spectacle, and this season has been the first to really feel like they were embracing that completely. And at the same time, with Moffat settled in as show runner, he kind of seems like he’s attempting to spread his wings in a way that’s much more interesting than last year.
Don’t misunderstand me–the criticisms of the story being rushed, and that the choppy anthology nature of the show have really muddled what ought to be a stronger emotional arc for all the characters, are completely valid. But this is the first season where I felt like Moffat and the others were throwing out the template, trying to tell a story where literally anything can happen (and, as we’ve seen, one that’s not afraid to have a multi-year mystery plot). For all the awkwardness this has produced, it’s also been kind of thrilling. Being overwhelmed with ideas is something I enjoy just as much as being overwhelmed with special effects, and the payoffs have actually been pretty satisfying as far as I’m concerned. I still think the Doctor’s foiling of the Silence in ‘Day of the Moon’ was legitimately clever, and while I saw the idea of a Who-Bot coming once they reintroduced the Teselecta, it’s a logical out of the kind we probably wouldn’t have seen in past years, where the Doctor usually gets saved by the power of love or whatever. It certainly works better than the rather cheap save at the end of ‘The Big Bang’ (which actually got a bit more retroactive explanation here, with the idea that Amy’s memory is magically supercharged from growing up with a time crack in her wall–that certainly helps make The Big Bang make more sense…)
As for the manic nature of the storytelling, it’s true that emotionally the characters don’t always have time to breathe, and that is unquestionably Moffat’s greatest weakness. But in terms of a plot, I actually love having a story that you have to go back and unpack afterwards. I appreciate not being spoon-fed, which I think has happened a few times in prior Who seasons.
Ian: I can get on board with episodes ripe for the unpacking as much as the next viewer, but I draw the line when the show becomes so beholden to that sort of thing that it sacrifices much of the enjoyment of actually watching it. In the moment. If I’m not riveted while I’m watching (and I wasn’t for the most part during this series), I don’t really want to go back and dissect the episodes.
To be honest, I’m at the stage where I don’t even feel the need to compliment Smith, Gillan, and Darvill. Their talent and consistency has never been in question so I’m always trying to look for new things to celebrate in lieu of falling back on stuff like “Smith sure was great again, wasn’t he?” because it would be very easy to do that. This might sound harsh, but I actually think they’ve been operating on a level above the writers, making it all the more bittersweet to watch them doing what they do so well. On the one hand, “wow, look at how much mileage you can get from such a simple idea with them!” On the other, “man, wouldn’t it be great if everything was as solid as they are?”
I think, if you’re Neil Gaiman, you’re probably feeling pretty good about yourself right now. His episode would have been a fantastic addition to any season, but the fact that it’s in this one only magnifies its brilliance. He effectively pulled a Sean Parker here, swooping in and wowing everyone. Slick, graceful, effortless; leaving the rest of the scribes feeling like their world has been turned almost upside down, like what they thought was the bee’s knees might not be after all. His episode felt gloriously free of the smugness already mentioned – which has bugged me on and off all series – and it wasn’t bogged down in the unsatisfying major story arc either, so it’s a rare blemish-free outing for me amongst a very mixed bag indeed.
Kristina: Gaiman’s episode was indeed the cat’s meow. ‘Curse of the Black Spot’, on the other hand? Man, what a fur ball.
Spike: Whilst I am bitching about Moffat I have to admit that ‘A Good Man…’ and ‘Day of the Moon’ were my favourite bits of the season. I’ve loved season six despite my quibbles with the overall narrative. This season has really punched above its weight on an episode by episode basis. I actually even adored the majority of this episode; I just found it a little unwise to leave so much still up in the air when the future of the show is so shaky.
Adam: Is that really the case, though? We know there’s going to be another season (and a Christmas episode in a few months); and a lot of the questions have in fact been answered. We know who the Impossible Astronaut is, River Song’s relationship to the Doctor and the Williamses has come out, we know who River killed to land her in jail, and we even know what “the Question” is. Most of our lingering questions were actually introduced this season, except the question of who blew up the TARDIS. I’m a North American, so for me this is business as usual for TV, and the Smith era of Doctor Who already has a better track record than Lost or The X-Files at tying up loose ends.
I’ve also got to say? As someone who said way back when that River being the Doctor’s Wife would be kind of lame and predictable, I’ve changed my mind now that the Doctor’s actually married. Seeing it play out on screen, it’s not about a big, twist revelation–it’s about the obvious suggestion that was planted right from River’s first appearance, and which the Doctor, and the audience (or me, at least) were fighting against, and which he’s finally given into. To me that ties into the Doctor’s self-loathing, and the lingering possibility that the big bad behind all this is the Dream Lord, or the Valeyard, or what have you; while technically he gave in and married River because he wanted her to stop fighting and let the Anachro-Verse collapse, it’s clear that he was honestly moved by River’s proving that he is, in fact, a good person who deserves saving, and maybe deserves a wife as well.
For all that this show goes for over-the-top romantic gestures and shameless sentimentalism, I actually think this is one romantic beat that absolutely DID work because there was a legitimate character groundwork laid and paid off.
Spike: I just think that this episode felt more like a prequel for season seven than anything else, especially in comparison to ‘The Big Bang’ which managed to have a far greater sense of closure than this.
Ben: Moffat does have a knack for plotting that’s both obvious and completely unexpected, doesn’t he?
I think that the difference, for me, between The Big Bang and this finale, was that while both left lots of questions dangling, Big Bang felt emotionally more complete- it may partly have been the more careful pacing, but it seemed to completely resolve the character journeys for the season, even if it didn’t wrap up the plot. This time, we only had The Doctor’s own mini-arc (and River’s loop) concluded- everyone else is much more obviously left dangling.
Kristina: I agree 100% with this, Ben. ‘The Big Bang’ left me with a real sense of closing the chapter on the season, especially during the scenes where The Doctor says goodbye to Amy in the Pandorica and to a sleeping Amelia. It’s only in the final scenes with River and aboard the TARDIS that I looked ahead to Season Six. ‘The Wedding of River Song’ does not play like a finale to me. It felt closer in tone and effect to the penultimate episode of last season, ‘The Pandorica Opens’, than a season-closing episode. I’m not saying that this is a bad thing, or that I require absolute 100% closure every time that I see a season finale. What I’m saying is that after ‘The Big Bang’, I never turned on BBC America, mistakenly thinking that another new episode was about to air. I knew it was done. I felt that it was done. With this one, I guarantee I’ll turn on BBC America next Saturday by mistake.
Adam: See, to me, as much as I liked series five, the Big Bang felt like a big let-down, because it was a very simple story that ended with a big, borderline nonsensical deus ex machina that was really only a step or two above the “clap your hands and say Doctor” ending of ‘Last of the Time Lords’. Sure, Amy’s emotional arc came to a conclusion, but it was such a simple arc–her regaining her faith in the Doctor, thereby “remembering her childhood”. River was still a huge question mark, and I don’t think the Doctor really went through much aside from his usual stuff. This season, all four major characters had an arc, particularly the Doctor. I can agree that Amy’s arc was rather botched and Rory’s didn’t make sense, but it’s like I’m saying–they didn’t catch all the balls they had in the air because there were more balls. Uh, so to speak.
Spike: That’s a thing I meant to ask. I’m still not sure how the Tinkerbell Amy actually affected the adventures that were had in Season Five. Now I just kind of assumed that people had memory of them, but the events themselves may not have taken place. But this episode posits that even in the universe that Amy created she ended up having adventures with the Doctor.
Adam: I think the idea of ‘The Big Bang’ was that Amy could undo all the effects of what had happened to her if the Doctor was willing to edit himself out of her timeline, taking with him all the timey-wimey nonsense that had gobbled up Amy’s family. But then her memory was strong enough to recall him and bring it all back. Yeah, it’s kind of weak. But it was clear that everyone else remembered the events of the season by the end–remember Rory’s “I was a robot!”? As I say, it kind of falls apart when you examine it. It was meant to be a metaphor about how you can be an adult and still retain your childhood sense of wonder, I think.
Spike: I get what they were trying to do; it just seemed that Moffat himself (quite wisely) had avoided getting into the nuts and bolts of how it all operated. Hence why I assumed the events of season five were largely residual memories.
Adam: Well I doubt they’d ever be willing to say “Hey, that season you just watched? NEVER HAPPENED!” The Big Bang ended with everyone getting the best of both worlds, I think, which is why I find it to be a bit of a copout. Think of it as the Doctor basically opening up the time rift and shaking everything out.
But even that sort of deepens the themes of this season–if last season was about believing you can have it all, this season cast doubt on that and suggested that, yeah, you do have to grow up sometime.
Ben: I still see these past two seasons as a deconstruction of the RTD era as much as anything: Moffat erased the more egregious elements of the actual stories last year with the cracks (The Cyberking et al), and this year he’s effectively wrapped up the whole lonely-god-legendary-figure take on the Doctor that started off in the late 80s, effectively allowing him to return to the style of the older show.
Adam: Good point! The “lonely god” thing was always a bit on the silly side, to me, because it didn’t really have anywhere to go other than the Doctor being emo all the time. Arguing that the Doctor can, in fact, be surrounded by people who love him is a much stronger and more satisfying argument, and is frankly more consistent with the way the show works.
Casey: I am going to say I loved this season finale and I loved it more than last season’s/ First off, it gave us a glimpse of a much larger universe and world and possibilities. I thought it was great seeing this world where all of time was happening at first (and I was kind of pulling for the kids at the park to get eaten).
Also, I just enjoyed the fact we see the Doctor put a far reaching plan into place and see it come out on top, and not just him coming up with something at the last minute.
I also love how the season balances out. We go from Amy and Rory seeing the Doctor creep into stories and appear on TV (although they missed that) to the Doctor realizing he needs to step back and go into the shadows. It is kind of fun to think what it will be like for the Doctor to not be able to simply walk up to a species, say “I’m the Doctor,” and have them quiver in fear. I also like the fact the Doctor was redeemed, and River gave the flip side speech to the one she gave him in “A Good Man Goes to War.”
Really, for me this season finale was so much more satisfying and enjoyable than last season’s.
Now, I am not sure though who had the better look at the end: Amy realizing she is the Doctor’s mother-in-law or the Doctor hearing the question.
Kristina: Amy’s look wins for me. It’s not just the realization that she the mother-in-law, but that she rather passionately made out with him in her bedroom once upon a time. Who’s the real Mrs. Robinson in that family?!
Ian: Not only that, but thrown herself at him (something I still think Rory had grounds to dump her for.) This coming from someone notoriously unable to stay mad at Amy, of course.
Ben: My own pet theory is that the Doctor’s name is Doctor Who (an omniscient supercomputer addressed him by that title in 1966, shortly before going all Skynet), and that there’s no question at all.
Spike: The idea of a Doctor stripped of his fame is fantastic, especially because the Doctor defeating an enemy by essentially asking them to look him up in ‘Silence of the Library’ was the nadir of the Doctor as Emo God-King of the Universe characterisation that made the last few years of Tennant’s run a little much to deal with.
Adam: Can they undo the Doctor’s fame? I mean, he’s faked his death now, but the minute he appears again anyone who’s heard of the Doctor is going to remember who he is. I think the important thing is just not to have people talking about how amazing the Doctor is all. The bloody. Time. And to put him up against enemies who don’t run away the instant you mention him. I mean, sure, it’s an effective tool for a pacifist hero, but enough is enough.
But I do like the idea that the Doctor might try slinking around and keeping things under wraps for a while.
As for The Question….it’s got to be more than just revealing the Doctor’s name, right? I mean, why would anyone care if his name is “Who”? It seems more like this is going back to classic fairy tales where knowing someone’s name gives you power over them. Either that, or this is a more metaphysical question…”Who is the Doctor, really?”…whose resolution could somehow wreak havoc on the cosmos. I wonder if this is meant to echo the supposed “master plan” from, was it McCoy’s run, where apparently the eventual reveal was going to be that the Doctor was one of the founders of Time Lord society and was actually a godlike entity, or something…I don’t know much about that, but it sounded a bit dumb. However, there might be a way to do it in the current series that doesn’t involve a ridiculous retcon. He is a time traveller, after all.
Ben: Yes, that was McCoy’s run, where the Doctor was apparently meant to be the “Other”, the figure who worked with Rassilon and Omega to reform the Time Lords from their savage early days and build their modern society. None of that beyond a few vague hints ever made it in, thankfully.
Casey: By the way, I am going to say the fall of the 11th is not the regeneration of Smith – just an out in case he wants it when we get there. So maybe, but I don’t see it as definite right now.
Kind of love Madame Kovarian’s reaction as River and the Doctor flirted about while everything was going down. And River Song remains one of the sexiest characters in fiction. The best part, my wife is now hooked on the show (she likes to say my son and I turned her into a nerd), and she goes around saying “Hello Sweety.” Might have said too much there.
Adam: That is HOTT.
Ian: Hotter than calling your missus, “Ma’am”, that’s for sure. It didn’t do Captain Janeway any favours and it didn’t work for Karen either.
Kristina: You underestimate how hot submitting to a woman in authority can be, but I digress…
Spike: Speaking of women in authority I really did love seeing Madame Kovarian again. Frances Barber really did a little with a lot, and like you guys mentioned she was fantastic when she was just reacting to stuff. I also loved her sliminess when she revealed the Silence’s ultimate plan and her sudden panic when she realised what was happening to her.
It’s a shame that she ended up getting offed, although I wonder if she actually is dead or if it’s just the Anachro-Verse version that was killed, because I think the one thing the new run of Doctor Who lacks is a consistent villainous presence. The Silence are an interesting idea, but they need a figurehead like Kovarian to keep things interesting.
Casey: Have to say the farewell bit was nicely done, especially the “he passed a few months ago” line. Sad, but a nice send-off to the character and the actor. Kind of made me wonder when/if they are going to address the passing of Sarah Jane Smith/Elisabeth Sladen.
I also like the fact that Amy and River both have something special to them from being exposed to the vastness of time and that this has been noted. That makes me wonder if they play a bit more into the first/final question.
So Moffatt and company have basically spent two seasons rebooting the Doctor. And have a new direction to take her with him. Very interesting in seeing the Doctor as a smaller player in the universe. Coming out of the shadows as either an unknown or the bogeyman. And really, all of time and space is quite vast, so a bit easier for the Doctor to become someone in the shadows.
Kristina: The tip of the hat to the Brig reduced me to tears. I haven’t gone through all of Classic Who, but I know full well who the Brig is, and I was truly surprised that they name-dropped him and paid touching tribute to him. I was watching with a group, and we all gasped. We had to rewind it to make sure that the nurse had truly said what we thought she’d said. Loved that it was the Brig’s death that forced The Doctor out of his “I can outrun death” haze. That genuinely impressed and moved me. And you better believe that Sarah Jane is getting a name-check next year.
Speaking of things that I hope get checked next year, how about that Amy Pond handling Madame Kovarian like a boss? “She didn’t get it all from you, sweetie.” The Pond Mafia is ruthless! After my endless disgust about Amy’s seeming lack of feelings about her child basically being ripped from her arms, it was great to see her finally express some feelings about her damn baby. However, Amy was clearly struggling with what she’d done by the end of the episode. Will this come into play next year? Kovarian’s death took place in a timeline that no longer exists, so she could very well pop up again next season. You have to believe that The Doctor would be horrified by what Amy had done if/when he finds out.
Spike: I also liked that the sequence mirrored River Song and the Dalek last year. I think the wording was even rather similar, or had a similar “but the Doctor isn’t here” punch line.
Adam: Final thoughts: I thought this was a good finale, as convoluted as it was, and I think a lot of the issues people are having with it will fade as we look back on Smith’s tenure as a whole. It’s one piece of a larger puzzle.
Kristina: Here’s hoping that the issues fade. I absolutely had issues with the series as a whole. Some things felt rushed, and the pirate episode was atrocious. Having said that, Matt Smith is such a joy to watch that I can take a wait-and-see approach to the rest of his run, and to what Moffat has in store for me next year. Tennant can go step through a crack in the wall, for all I care. Matt Smith is MY Doctor, and I’m damn proud to say so. His growth as a character and as an actor in the span of two seasons has been astounding, and I can’t wait to see where that madman with a box takes me next year.
Spike: My issues with this season are largely centred on it feeling a lot more transitional than I was expecting. I said earlier that I think pound for pound this has been one of the strongest runs of the show. Even my least favourite episode, Curse of the Black Spot, wasn’t terrible, just trite and a little lifeless. What I’ve loved this season is the character work. I loved the tone and style of season five but I often felt the character work was a little off. The Doctor was amazing from the get go, Smith just gliding effortlessly into the role, but Amy and Rory often came across as ciphers. Amy in particular was written as almost a little too nonchalant about practically everything and whilst there were story reasons for it I felt they were never properly realised.
Last year Karen Gillen and Arthur Darvill raised perfunctory characters, this year those characters actually supported their amazing work and became real emotional epicentres to these stories. If anything my gripes are that the show possibly over extended a little with its overarching narrative which made the practicalities of the show stand out a lot. Doctor Who has always been a show of one off stories and whilst Moffat has done a lot to serialise the show these past few years he hasn’t been able to completely escape the singular story model, as such I feel there has been a real push and pull between the meta-narrative and the episode stories. I think thematically and emotionally this season has been amazing, I just think the nuts and bolts of the meta-plot didn’t quite work as smoothly as they could.
Ian: Right, it looks like time’s almost up. I just wanted to say it’s been fantastic taking part in this. Nice job, everyone! And thanks again for having me.
Spike: I’ve really enjoyed these tag-team reviews. In the words of Royal Tenenbaum “I’m having a ball. Scrapping and yelling and mixing it up. Loving every minute with this damn crew.”. It has been nice to have an outlet for my geeky musings on this show and I sincerely hope that these have been half as much fun to read as they have been to write.
Anyways the Crew will be back for the Christmas Special in December and will reconvene sometime next year when Doctor Who returns to our screens for its seventh season. In the meantime I want to leave you with this mini-episode called ‘Death Is The Only Answer’. Penned by a bunch of school kids it’s a nice showcase for Smith’s talents and it is a nice reminded that while us boring old grown-ups might be able to wax lyrical about the show the real connection the show has is with its target audience. The sheer enthusiasm and quality of this script is just a testament to how inspiring Doctor Who is.